Queensland open house events

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Key finding

Since 2010, Open House events have been staged in four Queensland cities: beginning with Brisbane and expanding to Maryborough, Toowoomba and, in 2015, the Gold Coast. The global Open House movement highlights history and architecture and offers a range of satellite events for the public in each city.

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Open house events (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

Starting in London in 1992, the Open House movement showcases outstanding architecture and encourages people to explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment—all for free.

More than 30 countries and more than one million people participate in Open House annually around the world.

Open House events allow people to explore buildings—or parts of buildings—that are not usually open to the public.

Following the lead of Melbourne Open House (2008), Brisbane Open House started in 2010.

Maryborough and Toowoomba Open House events followed in 2012 and 2013 respectively and have continued to grow their building offerings and visitor numbers.

In 2015, the inaugural Gold Coast Open House was staged. Up to 3,000 people visited buildings and associated events. Of the 22 places open to the public, the two most popular buildings were heritage places.

The Open House model provides a significant opportunity for Brisbane and regional cities to showcase their history and architecture, while enhancing the tourist experience.

Every year the heritage buildings continue to be amongst the most popular places to visit at Queensland’s Open House events.

Brisbane

At Brisbane Open House—a free-of-charge event held annually in conjunction with World Architecture Day—selected buildings are opened for the public with guided and self-guided tours to encourage visitors to engage with Brisbane's built environment.

The inaugural Brisbane Open House was a one-day event held in 2010, attracting more than 12,500 visits. Almost 66,000 visits were recorded in 2015—a 17% increase on 2014. Thirty new buildings opened their doors in 2015, bringing the total number of buildings open to 90.

Every year the heritage buildings are amongst the most popular places to visit at Brisbane Open House. In 2015, the top three most popular buildings were heritage places: nine of the top 12 most visited buildings were entered in the Queensland Heritage Register.

Research conducted by the Brisbane Open House events team at the 2015 event follows:

  • 84% of respondents chose to visit heritage buildings over other places
  • 85% participated in Brisbane Open House to learn about the history of Brisbane and its architecture.

Brisbane Open House continues to grow thanks to strong support from its founding partners—the Queensland Government, the Brisbane Development Association and the National Trust of Australia (Queensland). The Queensland Heritage Council has sponsored the event since its inception in 2010.

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Maryborough

Maryborough Open House is a free-of-charge event, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to discover the unique attributes of Maryborough’s heritage places and encouraging new levels of community engagement.

The inaugural Maryborough Open House was held in 2012. It has grown into a full weekend of events.

In 2013, a two-day archaeological dig took place at the Old Maryborough Town Site attracting more than 600 visitors and 150 volunteers who participated in the dig. In 2014 and 2015, more than 500 people attended an evening celebration, Gatakers by Night, held in and around a heritage-listed warehouse.

At the 2015 event, there were 11,526 visits to 33 buildings and sites—all but one were heritage places. More than 900 people visited the Ann Street Water Tanks where school music ensembles performed.

Maryborough Open House 2015 also included some of Maryborough’s most interesting and beautiful private gardens—many in the grounds of historic homes.

Maryborough Open House is a joint initiative of the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the National Trust Australia (Queensland), in partnership with Fraser Coast Opportunities. The Queensland Heritage Council has sponsored the event since its inception.

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Toowoomba

Toowoomba Open House is a free-of-charge event, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to celebrate Toowoomba’s unique built environment.

The event aims to foster an understanding of the contribution that design makes to the quality of urban life, showcasing the adaptive reuse of some of Toowoomba’s heritage places, while encouraging new levels of community engagement.

More than 2,500 people visited 17 buildings for the inaugural Toowoomba Open House in 2013.

In 2015, there were 5,310 visits to 28 buildings. All but four of the buildings were heritage places — and 16 places were entered in the Queensland Heritage Register.

A series of related activities, including walking tours, public lectures, a photographic competition, children’s program and an architectural dig, are held in the week leading up to Toowoomba Open House.

Toowoomba Open House is a joint initiative of the Toowoomba Branch of the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) and members of the Australian Institute of Architects–Darling Downs. The Queensland Heritage Council has sponsored the event since its inception.

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Gold Coast

Gold Coast Open House is a free public event providing access to some of the city’s most significant and interesting places.

Famous for its interwar and post-war development boom and recreational industries, the Gold Coast has a varied and unique stock of buildings and places in comparison with many other major Australian cities. Gold Coast Open House showcases this distinctive architecture from fibro beach houses to canal estate mansions and coastal high-rises—as well as some of the city’s precious heritage gems that provide a source of nostalgia for many Australians.

The inaugural event in 2015 attracted about 3,000 people to 22 buildings, not usually open to the public, and associated events. The two most popular buildings were both heritage places.

Gold Coast Open House is a joint initiative of the City of Gold Coast and members of the Australian Institute of Architects. The Queensland Heritage Council sponsored the event.

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Indicator: Number of heritage places open and number of people visiting heritage places in Open House events throughout Queensland

Number of heritage places open, and number of people visiting heritage places at open house events by location for 2010-2015.

Download data from Queensland Government data